Three Reasons Why You Can’t Market a Dealership Like Other Businesses

Consumers today are bombarded with marketing on a daily basis, whether in emails, social media posts, television ads, or a range of other channels. As a result, we’ve come to expect certain patterns in how companies market their products and services.

For most retailers, falling into those predictable patterns means coming across as unoriginal. Car dealerships, however, risk completely misrepresenting their value as a business.

Why is that? Let’s examine three reasons why your marketing as a dealership isn’t – and can’t be – the same as other retailers’.

Location Matters

In the age of online shopping, geography is increasingly irrelevant for retail in most industries. However, online purchases still represent only a small fraction of vehicle sales.

Relying on location might seem like a hindrance for other brick-and-mortar stores, but for a dealership, it’s an opportunity to attract buyers.

If you wait for customers to search for certain vehicles, your online visibility depends on their specific search terms. Instead, leverage your database and publicly available demographic info to scout local shoppers and observe their online habits, then develop profiles for your most promising customer segments. Using these profiles, you can predict buying behavior and promotions that will resonate in your region with surprising accuracy. You might even show them a great vehicle they hadn’t considered.

By targeting customers in your area, your dealership becomes more visible to potential buyers before your competitors even get a chance.

No Detail Is Insignificant

When someone searches for a shirt online and they get results for different items that only partially match their criteria, that’s generally OK. We’re willing to make compromises on small details when it comes to something like clothing.

With a vehicle, virtually every detail is important. A driver will spend tens of thousands of dollars on a vehicle with the expectation of using it for years, so accurate search results are critical. If you misrepresent your inventory, you’ll frustrate and even turn away potential customers.

Take advantage of your data and implement a marketing strategy that pairs your available inventory with your likeliest customers. Consider using negative keywords to ensure a shopper perusing used vehicles isn’t bombarded with ads for your current-year lineup.

Once a shopper knows what they need, you don’t want to waste their time with irrelevant or inaccurate promotions. Instead, put your customer database to work and find the best matches between your inventory and your potential customers. Soon, you’ll have more people clicking on your ads, more visits to your website, and more buyers in your dealership.

Much of Your Revenue Comes After the Sale

When a customer purchases one of your vehicles, it’s far from the end of that relationship. In truth, it’s just the tip of the iceberg as far as lifetime profit potential is concerned.

In other industries, each promotional email or newsletter a retailer sends out essentially restarts the sales process by enticing the customer with new products. In the auto industry, however, you have to constantly build on your existing relationship with each customer and keep up with their ever-changing needs.

There’s a lot of profit to be made in ongoing service maintenance and accessories sales. If you sell a vehicle only for its buyer to take it elsewhere for service, you’re hardly scratching the surface of that potential.

Keep track of previous customers and monitor which ones need service soon so you can distribute timely reminders. If a customer declines service or accessories, customize your messaging to incentivize them to return to your dealership. This will build rapport with your customers, keep them from choosing independent shops, and provide you with a reliable means of tracking ROI.

Each car you sell represents an investment in an individual customer. Make sure that investment pays dividends by effectively promoting your services.

Your Dealership Isn’t Like Other Businesses

Rather than waiting for customers to find you, prioritize your digital presence and leverage data so you find them first. Pay attention to every detail so the car you offer is a great match and doesn’t waste the customer’s time. Finally, it’s your job to keep in touch with your customers long after the sale so you don’t miss out on your biggest profit opportunities.

Buying a car is more than trying something on in a dressing room or reading a nutrition label. It means gathering extensive information, finding a suitable match, and making a years-long commitment. Does your marketing strategy do the same?